Many of us living in the Arctic experience changes in mood and energy during this dark season. This can look like sleeping more, feeling irritable, less motivation, isolating from friends, or finding yourself wearing an adult onesie because it seems too cozy. Here are some tips to fight the winter blues.
It can be tempting to stay indoors when the temperature dips. Try to spend time outside in the natural daylight whenever possible. Take a walk, shovel your deck, or just get out and play!
Brighten Up Your Life
“Happy lights” should be used in the morning, sitting 11-15 inches from the light, for 20-30 minutes depending on the strength of the light (look for 10,000 lux). I have seen a huge impact with my patients that use these lights regularly.
Vitamin D Supplements
Most Alaskans are deficient in Vitamin D, which can impact mood. Dr.Mailloux recommends adults take 5,000 IU’s daily throughout the winter months.
Healthy Eating Habits
Research shows a strong connection between gut health and neurotransmitters that impact mood. Eat a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, protein, and omega-3 fatty acids such as salmon, eggs, and nuts.
There are many ways to keep our bodies moving throughout the winter months. Join a gym, learn to ski with the Nordic Ski Club, walk outside, or utilize the Big Dipper’s track while watching the ice skaters!
Keep in touch with people you care about. Get out and see friends, family, or co-workers. Try joining a book club, exercise class, or attend a first Friday art show at one of our local galleries.
Make a Guide to Happiness
You are the expert in your own happiness. What do you need to feel your best? Make a list and hang it somewhere you will see it regularly. Some ideas may be expressing gratitude, making your bed in the morning, cooking a meal, or exercising.
If these symptoms are impacting your ability to live a full life, consider seeking help from a counselor or medical provider.